by Craig Manson
Edinburgh travel to Scotstoun on Friday night in an attempt to keep the 1872 cup far from the grasp of Glasgow Warriors. The Warriors team, who are still licking their wounds from their small hiccup at the hands of Benneton two weeks ago, have a point to prove to the Weeg faithful and maybe even a coach to save!
Edinburgh feature nine changes to the side that triumphed over Zebre two weeks ago, bringing back some heavy hitters including the newly uncaged Lion, Duhan van der Merwe, who is joined by Eroni Sau on the opposite wing. Mark Bennett returns to outside centre with George Taylor inside him. Nathan Chamberlain looks to further impress the Edinburgh fans at 10 with the steady hand and overused boot of Henry Pyrgos there to help if need be. Pyrgos gets his 50th start for the club after moving from the Warriors, his control and more leisurely pace in sharp contrast to the exciting Shiel on the bench. Damien Hoyland moves to fullback as Blair Kinghorn takes compassionate leave.
Up front, the on form (and my wifes favourite), Dave Cherry is sandwiched by the Greatest Schoeman and evergreen WP Nel. Jamie Hodgson and Daschund lover Grant Gilchrist complete the tight five bringing the expected set piece strength. Jamie Ritchie, the hard charging Luke Crosbie and Viliame Mata complete the back row of Edinburgh’s continually impressive forward pack that are always ready to quietly turn over ball, command the gain line and endure the continual braying of the Warriors Captain.
Edinburgh hearts are lifted by the appearance of a recovering Stuart McInally on the bench, the Scotland hooker looking to reassert his position on the international stage currently and maybe only temporarily filled by the impressive Cherry and George Turner in the recent Six Nations.
Whatever your thoughts on the Rainbow Cup, this fixture is not the dead rubber many have labelled it. Glasgow have a score to settle and need to rebound after their disastrous Italian adventure. Edinburgh will need to cut out needless penalties and the mistakes that make the faithful reminisce about the old days of Edinburgh being the poorer of the two Scottish sides.
The 1872 Cup is there for the taking, all the Burgh side need to do is reach out and grab it.
Edinburgh Rugby: Damien Hoyland, Eroni Sau, Mark Bennett, George Taylor, Duhan van der Merwe, Nathan Chamberlain, Henry Pyrgos; Pierre Schoeman (co-capt), David Cherry, WP Nel, Jamie Hodgson, Grant Gilchrist (co-capt), Jamie Ritchie, Luke Crosbie, Viliame Mata.
Replacements: Stuart McInally, Boan Venter, Lee-Roy Atalifo, Marshall Sykes, Mesu
Kunavula, Charlie Shiel, Charlie Savala, James Johnstone.